Betty Wise Susan Batista and Fay Dunkle
Homeland Center Board of Managers Chair Susan Batista, center, discusses upcoming events and plans for activities with residents Betty Wise, left, and Fay Dunkle.  

A true home is a comfortable place where the feel is welcoming, the décor is warm, and the people are friendly.

At Homeland Center, the unique Board of Managers assures the little things that make life pleasurable for residents, and now, the board is modernizing to enhance Homeland’s home-like feel.

The Board of Managers is a separate entity from the traditional Board of Trustees. While the Board of Trustees keeps Homeland running smoothly by overseeing fiscal and operational duties, the Board of Managers handles interior details and many day-to-day functions. They include selecting furniture and décor, hosting events, and sponsoring activities such as the visit by a food truck delivering hot, fresh French fries to delighted residents.

In 2016, with nearly 150 years of history behind it, the Board of Managers decided it was time to upgrade its by-laws, with two goals in mind – strengthening personal relationships with residents and attracting top talent by making better use of members’ time. The two goals are intertwined.

Next year Homeland Center is turning 150 and we want your help making it a delicious occasion! We’re asking residentsShare your recipes with us! and their families, as well as employees and friends to share their favorite recipes for a special commemorative cookbook. 

Recipes must be received no later than Wednesday, Nov. 30 and can be emailed to Barbara Cleeland at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or dropped off at the Sixth Street front desk. Please make sure your recipe is clearly written and has your full name and contact information. 

All money raised from the sale of the cookbook will benefit Homeland Center’s endowment fund. For more information, either email Barbara or call 717-221-7727. 

A top-to-bottom team effort has kept the 149-year-old Homeland Center at the top of its game. Wisdom,

Barry Ramper
President and CEO Barry S. Ramper II pledged that Homeland has never compromised quality and never will, despite financial pressures and a "rapidly changing'' regulatory environment.  

adaptability, and a “full commitment” will keep it there, leaders agreed at a recent annual meeting of the boards of Trustees and Managers.

In his report to supporters and staff, President and CEO Barry S. Ramper II pledged that Homeland has never compromised quality and never will, despite financial pressures and a “rapidly changing” regulatory environment. 

“I will not compromise the goal. I will not compromise the quality. I will not compromise what we have a responsibility to achieve, no matter what the environment,” Ramper vowed. “Knowing that Homeland is entrusted with all or a portion of a client’s end-of-life care, clients have and deserve an expectation of quality.”

One way Homeland is meeting today’s challenges is by expanding its services to provide a “continuum of care’’ that addresses the needs of those living at home. Homeland began expanding its services with the introduction of Homeland Hospice, which includes the region’s only dedicated pediatric hospice.

Earlier this year, Homeland unveiled two additional services to help seniors at home. Homeland HomeCare will assist seniors with daily tasks such as meal preparation and transportation, while Homeland HomeHealth will provide doctor-ordered medical assistance, ranging from providing intravenous therapy and other medications to physical therapy.

He called on everyone, including himself, to “step up their game,” even as the accolades and awards continue to build upon Homeland’s post-Civil War legacy of excellence.  The center’s achievements and reputation are reflected in five consecutive “Reader’s Choice” awards in the category of “Best Long-Term Care Facility” by the 50,000 readers of Harrisburg Magazine. Homeland is also one of the few in Central Pennsylvania to repeatedly earn Medicare's top Five-Star rating.

“It’s harder to hold this position than to attain it,” Ramper said.

Rosa Walker is the granddaughter of a slave who endured racism in the segregated South. She remembers the

Rosa Walker
Homeland Center resident Rosa Walker loves to get outside and enjoy Homeland's gardens and fountains.  

heartbreak over such tragedies as the 1963 killing of four girls in an Alabama church bombing. In the midst of the nation’s civil-rights struggles, she and her husband decided there was one way to help drive change: They would vote in every election. 

Sixty years later, Rosa Walker, 94, has kept that pledge, never missing a vote. About 10 years ago, after her 50th year of consecutive voting, she and her husband, World War II veteran William M. Walker, were inducted into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame.

Today, the Homeland Center resident remembers that decision, made in the era when African-Americans were struggling to end segregation and secure equal rights.

“There was all the upheaval in the country, and people were dying for it,” she says from her room at Homeland. “My husband and I decided that if they could die for it, the least we could do was vote. We made that commitment to each other, and we kept it.”

Whether she’s laughing with co-workers or chatting with residents, Barbara Jones loves working at Homeland Center.

Barbara Jones r with Lori McMichael
Barbara Jones, right, assists co-workers, including Assistant Director of Finance Lori McMichael, in the range of fiscal matters that keep Homeland Center operating smoothly.  

“When my life gets crazy, I love to come in, get at my desk, zone out, and focus on my work,” says Jones, Homeland’s fiscal assistant. “The people here are phenomenal. The people I work with in my office -- the amount of work they do and their experience and how smart they all are just blows me away.”

Jones was working at another area retirement center when a co-worker left for Homeland, and she knew she wanted to follow.

“I like to say I was on the wait list,” she says. Since joining the fiscal staff in February 2016, she helps with accounts payable, payroll, and other tasks that help her colleagues “keep their jobs rolling along.”

“I just hope to help make their jobs easier and be there to carry the extra,” she says. “I’ve learned so much. I’m just the assistant, and I love it. I love to assist people.”

Jones has a busy life outside of Homeland. She and her husband, Kenneth White, have four daughters, ages 13 to 26, and an infant granddaughter. They also have a chocolate lab puppy named Toby, cats named Marco and Miss Baby, and a 100-pound African spurred tortoise named Dido.


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